There’s an industry-backed “tip” that I’ve never been able to get behind: that you should wear every bra on the tightest possible clasp and work your way inwards to looser (and more comfortable) fastenings as the band stretches out. It’s a good idea in theory—get as much use out of your undergarments as possible!—but ever since I first started wearing them, I’ve been told that it’s totally fine and even expected for the band to squeeze my torso beyond any semblance of comfort, that I just had to give it a few weeks or months to loosen up. You’re expected to deal with (well, more like tolerate) it. Well, let me let you in on a little secret: I found freedom from that too-tight grip, and it’s called a bra extender. Oh, and it only costs $7.
My lingerie drawer overflows with bras that don’t fit quite right. All of them are on the tight side, since I’ve rarely made it through the painful stretch-out period. In an effort to finally bra that I could comfortably wear for a full lifespan, I went into a boutique for a custom-fitted one—but even still, it came back, and the band was still unbearably snug. So, the tailor recommended a somewhat unconventional solution: Get a bra strap extender. It was her Hail Mary—and out of the flames of a disappointing shopping experience came the beautiful phoenix that cured my bra woes.
The recommended product—Fashion Forms’ bra extender, which comes in a pack of three for $7—is pretty simple: a strap that’s around two inches, with hooks on one side (that fit into the clasps of your bra) and clasps on the other (for the hooks of your bra to grab onto.) I have the three-hook version, but there are also two-hook and four-hook options out there.
With this extender, I’ve been able to breathe in bras that I haven’t worn in years. Plus, I get to actually make use of what’s in my lingerie drawer—or All the Bras I’ve Loved Before, as I affectionately call them. It feels like I’ve gotten a new tool in a video game and can now go back and have fun with the quests I bypassed—except, instead of levels, they’re bras I’ve bought and abandoned over the years. That’s a different kind of win.
Fashion Forms Women’s 3 Hook Bra Extender, $7, Target